Preview: Rage 2
Remember everything that went down in developer id Software’s first semi-successful Rage? No, neither do we, because of its forgettable story, clunky open-world and run-of-the-mill first-person shooter mechanics. It hardly had a fan base either, so why in the world is there a sequel to this dead franchise? It’s a mystery we’re not bothered to solve, as Rage 2 is a completely different beast of adrenaline-pumping action that ticks (and blasts away) all the right boxes.
In fact, id Software and newcomers Avalanche Studios explicitly state that there’s no need to worry if you haven’t played the first one (followed by a fitting “you nuts?”). Basically, a huge asteroid destroys earth, you’re the last living Ranger, and there’s anarchy all around you. Ironically, it’s up to you to restore any scrap of order by being as chaotic as possible, and there’s a myriad of ways to get creative. To take down every enemy from the ninja-like Immortal Shrouded to the certainly less imposing squad of River Hogs, players will be armed with the Grav-Dart Launcher, which can fling foes any way you point, the Charged Pulse Canon which packs a wallop strong enough to take out a vehicle, the Smart Rocket Launcher which is loaded with clever homing rockets, and plenty more. They’re all upgradable in their own destructive way, which only makes players hooked on progressing through the game.
Wait a second, this all sounds fairly familiar... Doom, anyone? Rage 2 is by the same guys that brought the instant 2016 classic, so it’s exciting to see the highly satisfying, erm, rage-inducing combat brought to a sprawling open world. Also, this time Rage is actually set in an open-world, using a loading-free engine as opposed to its original “sectioned” open-world. It’s also bursting with colourful graphics, despite it being set in the usual brownish post-apocalyptic setting.
Unlike your stereotypical open-world game, there’s more to do than just shoot bad guys and explore the wasteland. There’s, as the developers put it, “family-fun activities” including convoy battles that will have gamers drive whatever battle-ready vehicle they find to take out huge trucks, the hilarious Mutant Bash TV for gladiator-type entertainment and a bunch of weird groups that will take you on absurd side-missions.
Insanity rules in Rage 2, and we’re loving every second of its completely revamped gameplay.
Available on PS4, Xbox One and PC. May 14.